Monday, November 23, 2009


Do Catholic bishops have the right, or the obligation, to speak to Catholic politicians about faithfulness to Catholic teaching & practice?
Do Catholic politicians have an obligation to their Faith first of all, or to the desires of their constituency?
Should personal convictions color public policy-making?

A dialogue:

W. …the King needs a son; I repeat, what are you going to do about it?
M. I pray for it daily.
W. God’s death, he means it…Then good night! Oh, your conscience is your own affair; but you’re a statesman! Do you remember the Yorkist Wars?...Let him die without an heir and we'll have them back again! Let him die without an heir and this “peace” you think so much of will go out like that! (he extinguishes the candle). England needs an heir; certain measures, perhaps regrettable, perhaps not…All right, regrettable! But necessary to get us an heir. Now explain how you as Councilor of England can obstruct those measures for the sake of your own, private, conscience.
M. Well…I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties…they lead their country by a short route to chaos. (he relights the candle) And we shall have my prayers to fall back upon.

So, then, whom do you admire more (pun intended) in this dialogue: Cardinal Wolsey or Sir Thomas More? Or perhaps Thomas Cromwell, or Richard Rich, or Archbishop Cranmer…?

What is so terribly burdensome and distasteful about taking a public stand based on deeply held convictions? Does no one any more want to be "A Man For All Seasons"?


  1. I admire St. Thomas and hopefully would be able to take such a stand. A bishop certainly would have the right to "remind" his flock, politicians included, of the tenets of their faith if these are being ignored...but that would be enough: to remind, not to punish if the said politician went ahead and received Holy Communion even though holding a position against one's faith. As I see it, the presumption is in favor of one's well formed conscience...who are we to judge otherwise? aidan

  2. Father Tocarz. This is Victor Ingalls. I just came across your Blog the other day and am following it now. Nice work! I actually have just entered the "Blogging World" a month or two ago. I put a link to your blog on mine this past week...hope you don't mind. Here is the link if you are interested. Pray you are well in Mobile. Peace.

  3. I cannot imagine giving the Eucharist/God to a soul that through his well formed conscience in satan comes forward to receive communion...As I see it it is the Bishop/priests responsibility not to give Jesus to those that belong to satan....
    Lisa Adams